THE Los Angeles Rams are a completely different team from the one that stunk out Twickenham last year.
Touchdowns from Todd Gurley and Jared Goff and a stout defensive showing powered the Rams to a dominant 33-0 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
It was Los Angeles’ fifth win in seven games and perhaps their most complete performance of the season yet.
Twelve months ago at the home of rugby, an uninspiring Rams side were beaten by the New York Giants.
Their No 1 overall pick quarterback Goff watched from the sidelines and star running back Gurley was a non-factor, as he was for much of the season.
LA lost 11 of their final 12 games last season and head coach Jeff Fisher didn’t last the year.
The Rams’ promising start this year under new coach Sean McVay has been largely thanks to their offence, Goff’s composure under centre and Gurley’s reemergence as one of the leading backs in the game.
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On Sunday night, their defence delivered their best showing of the season and were the catalysts for Rams victory.
Arizona couldn’t get going either through the passing game with Palmer or on the ground with Adrian Peterson.
The only time they got moving in the first half was on the first drive, but Phil Dawson missed the field goal attempt.
Admittedly Los Angeles struggled to move the ball too, until their defence sparked the team into life.
Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer came under pressure as he threw, and his pass looped straight in the air for safety LaMarcus Joyner to make the interception.
On the very next play, Gurley received the ball and took off for the corner, diving in to cap an 18-yard run with a touchdown.
Gurley said this week playing in London “doesn’t make sense” and the London games “need to stop”.
But he certainly didn’t play like he was jetlagged – finishing with 154 yards.
Palmer left the game with an arm injury and the Cardinals were facing a tall order.
Blaine Gabbert came in at quarterback for Arizona and he, too, felt the force of the Rams defence.
Gabbert was picked off by linebacker Mark Barron and Goff cashed in.
The second-year quarterback marshalled an eight-play, 88-yard drive down the field and finished it off by running home from nine yards.
A field goal either side of half-time extended LA’s lead to 26-0 and news that Palmer would not return all but brought an end to Arizona hopes.
Even an interception from Deone Bucannon couldn’t spark the Cardinals into life.
Peterson, who rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns in his Arizona debut last week, was held to just 21 yards.
Goff put the gloss on a rampant win with a late 18 yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp.
Greg Zuerlein smashed in four field goals in a kicking performance Jonny Wilkinson would have been proud of.
The Rams are set to be back in London in 2018 as well. What a difference a year makes.